U.S. lean-hog futures ended mostly lower on profit-taking and growing sentiment that the market's upside is limited after a prolonged rally. The market has rallied for much of the past month on solid domestic pork demand and tight near-term hog supplies, which have been reflected in surging wholesale-pork values and firm cash-hog markets. Other traders think the market could yet climb further, due in part to longer-term supply concerns and optimism about U.S. pork exports to China.
July lean-hog futures ended down 52 at 98.65, while October lean hogs were down 2 at 84.55. The June contract, which is nearing expiration and is thinly traded, extended its rally, closing up at $101.
U.S. live-cattle futures were also lower, amid sluggish beef demand and expectations that cash-cattle prices could continue to decline. June live cattle for ended down 3 at $119, August feeder cattle closed down 45 at $145.
U.S. soybean futures slumped Thursday, with investor profit taking pressuring prices lower. U.S. corn futures finished lower, pressured by falling soybean prices and worries about weak corn export demand. U.S. wheat futures ended higher, reversing early declines, as traders shed some risk after recent declines.
July soybeans finished down 30 1/2 at $15.10, July corn finished down 5 1/2 at $6.45, July wheat in Chicago ended up 2 1/2, at $6.85, Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat climbed 2 to $7.18.
Cotton futures settled at a nearly three-month high, as extremely dry weather in Texas, the top cotton-growing state, continued to feed expectations of less production next season. July cotton fell a fraction to 90.00, and December new crop gained 108 to 89.15.
Some investors have cashed out of precious metals recently on the view that a steadying U.S. economy will limit the duration of the Federal Reserve's stimulus program. The Fed's bond buying has drawn investors to precious metals as a hedge against inflation. Those worries dragged gold lower Thursday. August Gold fell $14.20 to $1,377.80, July silver closed at $21.58, down 21.3 cents.
Crude-oil futures settled at a three-week high Thursday in a late-session rally, amid a rally in the equity market and encouraging data on the U.S. economy. July crude gained 81 cents to $96.69 a barrel, July gasoline jumped 5.12 cents to $2.86 a gallon, and July distillates gained 4.43 cents to $2.93 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures settled higher Thursday, as traders looked ahead to improving demand for gas-fired electricity following a closely watched report on U.S. gas inventories. July Natural gas gained 3.7 cents to $3.81.
On Wall Street, stocks extended gains Thursday after stronger than expected economic data helped ease concerns about the impending start of the winding down of stimulus from the Federal Reserve. The Dow gained 180 to 15,176, the Nasdaq closed at 3,445, up 44 and the S&P 500 gained 23 to 1,636.